Laura Keene: A Biography

Ben Graf Henneke, Author Council Oak Books $19.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-933031-31-9
Keene (1826-1873) is best remembered as the actress who cradled the head of President Lincoln as he lay dying in Washington's Ford's Theatre. As revealed in this adulatory biography, however, she was also an autocratic, innovative contributor to the dramatic arts, pioneering the concepts of repertory, touring casts, scenery and lighting design. After her New York debut in 1852, newly arrived from England, Keene, in order to be seen as an ``unwed leading-lady,'' severed connections with her husband, raised her children as if she were their ``aunt'' and enjoyed a rewarding relationship with mentor and business manager John Lutz until his death in 1869. Although the author, a former president of the University of Tulsa, imaginatively interpolates much of his subject's personal life, this biography offers a meticulously detailed view of mid-19th-century American theater. Illustrations. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X